Urban planning In Helsinki’s participatory budgeting, a jackpot of EUR 8.8 million will be distributed – will the money be used for geese ‘artificial loans or fitness steps?

The Omastadi project for participatory budgeting gathered more than 1,400 ideas that citizens can develop during the spring before voting begins.

Power is again in the hands of the townspeople when the City of Helsinki ‘s participatory budgeting moves to its next stage. The round, which started last autumn, gathered a total of 1,463 city dwellers’ ideas for developing Helsinki.

What would it sound like, for example, turning Elielinaukio into a park and open-air restaurant, or building artificial islets for white-fronted geese?

Among other things, such proposals were submitted by the townspeople and can now be commented on by anyone on the Omastadi project online service.

This time, the city will distribute a pot of a total of 8.8 million euros to implement the city’s own ideas.

Last The co-development phase started in the project during the week will continue until April. During the spring, the proposals will be refined on an online platform, in workshops and together with city experts. From late spring, the proposals will proceed to budget before voting begins.

As in the last round, the need for sports and outdoor services is reflected in the ideas of the townspeople. Nearly half of the ideas were related to exercise and outdoor activities.

The townspeople have put forward several ideas for building frisbee golf courses. Fields have been welcomed in Central Park, Vuosaari and Patola, among others. Rehabilitation of existing fields has also been proposed.

The townspeople have come up with frisbee golf courses all over Helsinki. Pictured is Janne Uggendahl at the Talis Frisbee Golf Course.­

There are also hopes for a scooter and skate park in Pitäjänmäki and the establishment of an archipelago nature center and service port to serve Helsinki’s sailors.

Parks and nature also gathered more than 200 ideas. For example, the townspeople came up with ideas for a bird tower at Malmi Airport and the planting of cherry trees on the Citizen’s Square.

At issue is the second time that the Omastadi project for participatory budgeting has been implemented in Helsinki.

The core of the project is to get the citizens to decide what Helsinki will look like in the coming years and in which direction the city will be developed.

In a round that ended in the fall of 2019, city residents came up with a total of more than 1,200 proposals, 44 of which progressed to implementation.

Among the ideas, the Vattuniemi swimming pier, the addition of rubbish bins to Eastern Helsinki, Aino Acktén renovation of the villa and addition of urban campfire sites to the city.

Bridge times the amount of money in the allotment has doubled and at the same time the round has become biennial.

Other changes have also been made.

Proposals are still divided into large districts, but according to the decision of the city government, an individual proposal can cost up to half of the amount received by the large district.

In the previous round, there was no restriction and, for example, in the central district, one project, the artificial turf of Arabianranta, took up almost the entire pot.

Another decision made by the city government is closely related to the current stage. According to the decision, ideas related to the same service and topic should be combined into one proposal.

If the ideas have proposed, for example, maintaining the cleanliness of rubbish and the environment in Vuosaari and Mellunmäki, they will be combined into one proposal to increase the cleanliness of Eastern Helsinki.

I own it a new round kicked off last fall with an idea phase.

One of Omastad’s ideas is to build artificial islets for white-fronted geese near water to reduce faecal damage, among other things.­

All of the submitted ideas went through the initial qualification and 1,150 of them survived. Among those who qualified were, for example, projects that were too costly, says the city’s development manager Kirsi Verkka.

“For example, building an underpass is a project that cannot be funded with these funds.”

Rejected ideas also included those belonging to the police or the state. Some of the ideas, on the other hand, were ones that the city is already developing.

Currently, citizens can work together to design and edit ideas for proposals that meet the project criteria on the Omastad web platform or in city-led workshops.

Verkan according to the development phase has got off to a good start.

“Suggestions have come to the platform quite nicely compared to the fact that the platform has only been open for a week.”

Last time, Omastad’s web platform received some feedback on complexity and awkward usability. According to the network, the platform has been modified and simplified in between.

The breakdown by major circles also garnered criticism. According to Verka, no major structural changes were desired for this round, so that the townspeople had time to get acquainted with the current system.

In the Omastadi project, the city is divided into seven areas according to large districts, and there is also a separate category for joint projects in Helsinki.

The entire budget of EUR 8.8 million is distributed to large districts according to population. The southern and eastern regions have the largest shares and are allocated more than one million euros. Almost two million euros have been set aside for the city’s joint projects.

What are last year’s projects?

The first round of participatory budgeting ended nominally last year. In the spring, the successful proposals progressed to the implementation phase and some of the projects were completed on schedule.

For example, underwater rocks were cleared from Aurinkolahti, an artificial turf field was built in Arabianranta and more rubbish bins were brought to Eastern Helsinki.

However, the corona epidemic and the refinement of project plans have delayed the implementation of some projects.

“Projects are pretty good. Almost all have reached a good pace. For example, the opening of technical work classes for the use of citizens has received a lot of good feedback, ”says Verkka.

For some projects, the corona pandemic put a full stop.

“For example, the Christmas event planned for Töölöntori had to be canceled from last year, which was really a pity,” Verkka says.

Projects aimed at the elderly, for example, have also had to be postponed or canceled, as visits to care homes, for example, have been put on hold due to the coronavirus.

However, the aim is to get all projects through during 2021, if the corona situation allows it.

Participatory budgeting

The city’s participatory budgeting, the Omastadi project, will allocate a total of 8.8 million euros to the ideas presented by the city’s residents for the development of the city.

Citizens can come up with ideas, develop and vote on proposals online www.omastadi.hel.fi.

A co-development phase is currently underway, where the ideas collected last autumn will be further refined online, in workshops and in collaboration with city experts. Development will continue until April.

Next autumn, citizens will be able to vote on which proposals will move forward.


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